Parker v. Dignity Health, et al

Filing 170

ORDER Granting 166 Motion to Remand to State Court. Signed by Judge Cristina D. Silva on 11/17/2022. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF -cc: Certified Docket Sheet and Order sent to State Court - JQC)

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Case 2:18-cv-02291-CDS-VCF Document 170 Filed 11/17/22 Page 1 of 4 1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEVADA 2 3 4 5 Trina Parker, Plaintiff 6 7 Case No. 2:18-cv-02291-CDS-VCF v. 8 Dignity Health; Scott R. Ferguson, 9 Order Granting Defendant Scott R. Ferguson’s Motion to Remand [ECF No. 166] Defendants 10 11 Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and no basis for jurisdiction 12 remains in this controversy, I heed the caution of the Ninth Circuit and exercise my discretion 13 to grant defendant Scott R. Ferguson’s motion and order the case remanded to the Eighth 14 Judicial District Court for the State of Nevada, Department 29, Case No. A-18-781021-C. 15 I. Relevant Background Information 16 Plaintiff Trina Parker sued defendants Dignity Health and Scott R. Ferguson in the 17 Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, Nevada, alleging medical malpractice against both 18 defendants and violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act 19 (EMTALA), 42 U.S.C. § 1395, against Dignity Health. Compl., ECF No. 1-2. Dignity Health 20 removed the action to federal court, citing federal question jurisdiction over Parker’s EMTALA 21 claim against Dignity Health. Removal Pet., ECF No. 1 at 2. Ferguson did not appear prior to 22 removal and Dignity Health could not obtain a stipulation regarding removal from its co23 defendant. Statement Regarding Removal, ECF No. 5 at 2. After the close of discovery and on the 24 eve of trial, the parties stipulated to dismissing with prejudice Dignity Health from the suit. 25 Order, ECF No. 165; Stipulation, ECF No. 161. Ferguson now moves to remand the case, arguing 26 that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear Parker’s state-law claim against him. Id. at 6. Parker Case 2:18-cv-02291-CDS-VCF Document 170 Filed 11/17/22 Page 2 of 4 1 opposes remand. Resp., ECF No. 168. Ferguson initially argued that remand was “required,” ECF 2 No. 166 at 4:24, but in his reply agrees with Parker that remand in this instance is discretionary. 3 Compare ECF No. 169 passim with ECF No. 168 at 10. 4 Ultimately, both parties seem to agree on the facts relevant to this motion: the only 5 federal cause of action has been stipulated out of the case, no basis for diversity jurisdiction 6 exists between the two remaining parties, and Parker’s only remaining cause of action is a state7 law professional negligence/medical malpractice claim against Ferguson. 8 II. Legal Standard 9 “[A] district court has discretion to remand to state court a removed case involving 10 pendent claims upon a proper determination that retaining jurisdiction over the case would be 11 inappropriate.” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 357 (1988). “The discretion to remand 12 enables district courts to deal with cases involving pendent claims in the manner that best 13 serves the principles of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity which underlie the pendent 14 jurisdiction doctrine.” Id. However, “[t]hat state law claims ‘should’ be dismissed if federal claims 15 are dismissed before trial, as [United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966)] instructs, has 16 never meant that they must be dismissed.” Acri v. Varian Assocs., Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 1000 (9th Cir. 17 1997). Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has stated, and the Ninth Circuit has “often repeated, 18 that ‘in the usual case in which all federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance of 19 factors . . . will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law 20 claims.’” Id. at 1001 (quoting Cohill, 484 U.S. at 350 n.7); see also Harrell v. 20th Century Ins. Co., 934 21 F.2d 203, 205 (9th Cir. 1991) (interpreting Cohill to “note[] that ‘in the usual case’ the balance of 22 factors will weigh toward remanding any remaining pendent state claims to state court”). 23 “While discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims is 24 triggered by the presence of one of the conditions in § 1367(c), it is informed by the Gibbs values 25 of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “Once 26 [the court] dismisses all federal claims before it, a federal court must ‘reassess its jurisdiction by 2 Case 2:18-cv-02291-CDS-VCF Document 170 Filed 11/17/22 Page 3 of 4 1 engaging in a pragmatic and case-specific evaluation of the myriad of considerations that may 2 bear on the determination of whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.’” Pure Wafer Inc. v. 3 City of Prescott, 845 F.3d 943, 960 (9th Cir. 2017) (Smith, J. dissenting) (quoting 16 James WM. 4 Moore et al., Moore’s Federal Practice § 106.66[1] (3d ed. 2016)). 5 III. Analysis 6 After thorough consideration of the applicable law, the parties’ arguments, and the 7 principles of judicial economy, procedural convenience, fairness to the litigants, and comity, I 8 decline to exercise pendent jurisdiction over Parker’s professional negligence/medical 9 malpractice claim against Ferguson. 10 It is true that factors of economy and convenience favor retaining the case in federal 11 court: the parties have already spent a great deal of time and effort preparing for trial which is 12 set to begin in less than one month. Remand complicates matters by requiring invocation of the 13 judicial resources of the State of Nevada. The parties will have to complete additional motions 14 practice and re-file their litigation documents. However, “[t]hese factors are only slight as there 15 are no great hurdles to either party from litigating this case in state court, where the litigants 16 can pick up where this Court leaves off.” Erwine v. Churchill County, 2022 WL 705961, at *10 (D. 17 Nev. Mar. 9, 2022). 18 As far as fairness to the litigants: neither of the remaining parties to this litigation 19 wanted to be in federal court. Parker, the plaintiff and master of her own complaint, filed the 20 lawsuit in state court before Dignity Health removed the action based on federal question 21 jurisdiction. Ferguson states that he has “been hauled into federal court against his will.” ECF 22 No. 169 at 5. Fairness thus weighs in favor of remand. 23 Finally, remanding the case allows a state court to preside over state-law claims, which 24 promotes comity. “[N]eedless decisions of state law should be avoided both as a matter of 25 comity and to promote justice between the parties, by procuring for them a surer-footed reading 26 of applicable law.” Gibbs, 383 U.S. at 726. Furthermore, “if it appears that the state issues 3 Case 2:18-cv-02291-CDS-VCF Document 170 Filed 11/17/22 Page 4 of 4 1 substantially predominate, whether in terms of proof, of the scope of the issues raised, or of the 2 comprehensiveness of the remedy sought, the state claims may . . . [be] left for resolution to state 3 tribunals.” Id. This case necessarily involves issues of Nevada medical malpractice law that will 4 predominate over the trial, in terms of the proof applicable to the case and the scope of the 5 issues raised by Parker’s cause of action. 6 Ultimately, the principles of fairness to the litigants and comity outweigh the principles 7 of judicial economy and procedural convenience such that remand is appropriate. 8 IV. Conclusion 9 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendant Scott R. Ferguson’s motion to remand 10 (ECF No. 166) is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is directed to REMAND this case to the 11 Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County, Nevada, Case No. A-18-781021-C, Department 29, 12 and CLOSE THIS CASE. 13 IT IS SO ORDERED. 14 DATED: November 17, 2022 15 16 _________________________________ Cristina D. Silva United States District Judge 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 4

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